Millennium Park in Chicago has become a very interesting foil to the Art Institute. The band shell/amphitheater by Frank Gehry is a bit disappointing (too 2-dimensional), but the Crown Fountain is one of the best pieces of public art in the city. Designed by Jaume Plensa, the fountain is two 50 foot high glass block towers with video projections on their facing sides. The projections are faces of people from the wide spectrum of citizens of Chicago.
In warm weather the fountains ‘spit’ a stream onto a slate plaza, usually filled with kids playing in the stream.
On a recent trip to Chicago, the Midwestern rain had the fountains turned off, but the reflection in the plaza doubled each image, making a kind of visual skyscraper to join the others in the city.
photos by Mark Gerwing